Wednesday, January 28, 2015


One responsibility or benefit that I enjoy when I attend the International CES in Las Vegas is reviewing some of the products or technologies that are launched at the event.

The earliest sample product that I received for review is a “Dick Tracy”-like BURG 12 Smartwatch. It was arranged by one of the most respected PR Agents representing amazing products coming out of CES annually – Karen Thomas. She also happens to be a Facebook friend.

BURG Hermen van den Burg – a world-renowned lifestyle designer to Ikea and Target, created the BURG 12 Smartwatch. It features interchangeable bezels and straps, cutting-edge design and function.

Like all other smart watches, BURG 12 pairs to all iPhones and Android Smartphones. But more importantly, it is a stand-alone phone. It comes with a replaceable SIM Card that gives you a separate cell phone number allowing you to call and receive calls. Initially, the buyer will have $25 dollars worth of free phone calls.

I have tried this feature/functionality and I find it awesome. I now have a second phone that I use for emergency and for personal or private use. It is on my wrist most of if not all the time.

I use it also for messaging. I can text and receive texts. It has both SMS and MMS capabilities. It can also be used as a two-way communication system.

The Multimedia features of the BURG 12 also amaze me. First, it has a Camera that you use to take pictures. Correspondingly, it has an Image Viewer. Second, it has a Voice Recorder and Microphone. Its Audio/Music Player would let you listen to your FM Radio, voice recordings and MP3 music later. The Video Player allows you to watch the MP4 movies/videos in your database.  It also comes with a Headset to enhance your listening pleasure.

The Calendar, Calculator, and Contact list makes the device also an electronic organizer.

The Bluetooth 3.0 feature can pair BURG 12 not only with smartphones but also with other smart devices containing Bluetooth such as speakers.

For storage of contents requiring some higher memory capacity, the BURG 12 Smartwatch comes with a Micro SD 4 GB but upgradeable to 16 GB.

Amidst all the powerful features mentioned above, it is still a watch that tells time. But as such, it is considered fashionable with its Avant-Garde Dutch design, 1.5 inch 240 x 240 resolution, easy to use, scratch and water resistant touchscreen.

Battery life is 3-day standby, 2-3 hour talk time, and 3-4 media player. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges in 1-3 hours through the included USB to Micro USB cable.

BURG Hermen van den Burg has been quoted as saying, “We built the BURG 12 for people who want their hi-tech watches to be fashionable, not just tech, and want customizable options for their watch screen and straps without being tied down to one phone platform.”

The apps that come with the device are what you get right now. It would have been nice to have apps downloadable and usable with the watch such as games, activity monitors, Skype or a Facetime equivalent. Perhaps, software developers for BURG products could be encouraged to develop more apps.

There are now Google Smartwatches getting full support from their manufacturers. Apple just announced that it would come out with its version this April. We still do not know what its style, features and functions would be. I suspect that it would not include being a “stand-alone” phone.

For the price of only $199 and its fashionable design, features, and functionalities, the BURG 12 still proves attractive to many. After all, wearing a fashionable “Dick Tracy”- like Smartwatch could be perceived as one step up the social ladder.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pope Francis: Wisdom, Discernment, Prosperity and Peace

Paying a courtesy visit to PNoy at Malacañang Palace, Pope Francis wrote in the Guest Book,

“On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace,”

Directly asked by the Head of His Church, the Almighty God can hardly refuse the appeal and prayer of Pope Francis. This is why many Filipinos like me are full of hope and optimism that the President and the Filipino people would soon be, if not already so, granted “abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace.”

Who was it that said, “So it was all written, so it shall be done”?


In Malacañang, Pope Francis uttered the following words:

“It bids us to break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.

‘I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.”

In a Press Conference, Pope Francis emphasized:

“Corruption is the order of the day in today’s world, and the corrupt attitude easily and immediately finds a nest in the institutions, because an institution that has many branches here and there, so many chiefs and vice-chiefs, in this way it’s very easy for it to fall or provide a nest for corruption and every institution can fall into this. Corruption is taking from the people. The corrupt person who does corrupt deals or governs corruptly or associates himself with others in order to do corrupt deals robs the people. “

Indeed, social structures that breed corruption perpetuate poverty. Corruption is robbing the people and taking from the poor families and children. It is stealing the youth’s future in their pursuit of a happier and better life.


PNoy did say, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”  (No corruption, no poverty.” He did advocate that we must follow the “righteous or straight path” (Tuwid na Daan). He did and continues to encourage the prosecution of corrupt officials resulting in the impeachment of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, and detention of some Senators and high government officials. He did pour and transfer billions of pesos to encourage parents/families to send their children back to school.

From the words of both Pope Francis and PNoy, I can discern a similarity of message – that corruption is prevalent in governmental and church institutions. That it is an evil that should be stopped.

Both drew from their experiences with their respective governments and churches. 

Pope Francis as an Archbishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, tells a story in 2001 when he asked the Chief of the Cabinet of the President at that time,  “Tell me, the aid that you send into the interior of the country, whether it be in cash or food or clothes, all these things, how much gets to the place.” Immediately this man, who is a true man, clean, (said), “35 percent.” That’s what he told me.“

Pope Francis also mentioned in a Press Conference,

“I remember once, in the year 1994, when I had been scarcely named bishop of the Flores quarter of Buenos Aires, two employees or functionaries of a ministry came to me to tell me, “You have so much need here with so many poor in the villas miserias (shanty towns).” “Oh yes,” I said, and they told me “We can help you. We have, if you want, a subsidy of 400,000 pesos.” At that time, the exchange rate with the dollar was one to one. $400,000. “You can do that?” “Yes, yes.” I listened because, when the offer is so big, even the saint is challenged. And they went on: “To do this, we make the deposit and then you give us half for ourselves.” In that moment I thought about what I would do: either I insult them and give them a kick where the sun never shines or I play the fool. I played the fool and said, in truth, we at the vicariate don’t have an account; you have to make the deposit at the archdiocese’s office (chancery) with the receipt. And that was it. “Oh, we didn’t know.”

As Pope Francis was comfortably talking about his experiences to support the existence of corruption in both political and ecclesiastical institutions, he was also quick to say that there are many good people in these institutions.
PNoy used his personal, family and the country’s experiences during Marcos’ Martial Law and the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo years to depict the corrupt practices and the role of the Church during those years.

PNoy hailed the courageous voices of many church leaders in fighting the Marcos abuses. He was critical of the silence of the church regarding the Arroyo corruption charges.  And yet as he earnestly fights corruption, he hears loud criticisms from the same leaders who opted to be quiet during the Arroyo regime.
Pope Francis and PNoy aired their experiences to deliver their respective messages publicly. 

The perennial naysayers expectedly preferred to criticize PNoy. They claim that it was not in good taste to tell on the church leaders to their Big Boss publicly. In short, they want the silence on the Arroyo abuses treated also with silence.
PNoy was also thankful to the “Lord for other kindred spirits like Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Father Catalino Arevalo, and Sister Agnes Guillen, who have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies, along with so many others.”

Judas received 30 pieces of Silver for betraying Jesus (Matthew 26:15). This is corruption in the worst sense. It will be told repeatedly several billion or trillion more times. So will the corrupt practices during the Marcos and Arroyo regimes.

Not in Good Taste? De gustibus non est disputandum. "In matters of taste, there can be no disputes".

Pope Francis prays for the country’s prosperity. Recovery is expected to bring miracles to the poor families – mothers, children, disabled, and many more.

Pope Francis prays for peace. Mindanao as the Land of Promise is ready for a more permanent peace resulting from the Bangsa Moro Peace Agreement.  The New People’s Army (NPA) and the PHL Government are also now getting ready to negotiate a peace agreement.

“So it was all written, so it shall be done.”

Friday, January 16, 2015


I just returned from a very rewarding, relaxing, and recharging trip to Las Vegas, Nevada attending the International CES 2015.  Going there annually for several years now, I feel that this year has been my most successful trip ever.

Personally, I was more prepared than ever. Registering as a credentialed member of the Press at the earliest possible time, I made use of all the tools that included MyCES Planner, which CES offered. Invited by hundreds of PR firms and agents to visit their clients’ booths to check out their new products and technologies, I responded to those that attracted me by designating the time and day that I would visit.

Like in previous years, I have always considered the CES as a “Sea of Little Miracles in the Sin City.” So, I use this question to the PR agent or CEO as a basis for determining priorities of my visit and correspondingly, my article; “Does your invention fall under the description of 4 Ms (Miracle, Magic, Mind-Boggling, Mystery)?

Remember, there were about 3700 exhibitors occupying a span of 2 million net sq. ft. located in several places in Las Vegas. You obviously cannot visit them all – much less even interview them. So, I had to select which exhibitors to visit.

I chose to visit over 160 booths that were also spread all over. Unlike in previous years, I was able to visit almost all of them without getting exhausted and without much stress to keep my appointments. This was because I rented a scooter that took me from one place to another during the entire convention.  I also took advantage of the ADA Shuttle Service provided by the CEA, owner and manager of the International CES, which picked me up and my scooter daily.

This year’s CES was bigger than last year’s. So, there were definitely more than 160,000 attendees coming from more than 100 countries bringing in about 40,900 international visitors. Attracting so many attendees who are in an industry of innovation, it would have definitely taken the innovative CES Creative Communications Campaigns to reach out and propel these electronic techies from all over the world to go to Las Vegas and show and be shown the latest consumer electronic products.

So I was not surprised when I found out that the innovative CES advertising and marketing campaigns were recognized by Tradeshow, MarCom and Visual Arts Professionals.

Prior to the event, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) was honored with seven industry awards for advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the International CES – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP) and the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA) each recognized CES’ creative campaigns as among the best of the year.

As announced by CEA, “The 2015 CES ad campaign, “Expect the Unexpected” won a Platinum MARCOM Award from AMCP and a Silver Davey Award from AIVA. The campaign was created to build on the momentum and excitement from the 2014 CES while positioning the show as the place to see innovations beyond one’s imagination. Creative elements feature surreal images such as a Bengal tiger on the moon and a hitchhiking astronaut.”

Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES and corporate business strategy, CEA says, “Like the consumer electronics industry we serve, innovation is in our DNA. That’s why we continue to push the envelope in our marketing efforts for CES. We’re extremely proud of the CES marketing team for its leadership as well as our partners at Concept 73 for helping us achieve a branding campaign that celebrates CES heritage while highlighting the innovation at CES and its impact on the world.”

The 2015 CES ad campaign also received a Silver Davey Award for the visual appeal of the revamped CES website and a MARCOM Honorable Mention for a rotating banner ad.

CEA was also awarded first place in the IAEE Art of the Show Competition in the category of “Show Promotion – Website Over 150,000 Net Square Feet” for the 2014 International CES website and received Honorable Mentions for the 2014 CES Exhibit Sales Brochure as well as the 2014 CES Show Daily.

As efficient and effective as the promotional, advertising, and marketing campaigns, was the management of the entire event. As miraculous, magical, mind-boggling, and mysterious were many of the apps, gadgets, and other smart devices, was the efficient and effective planning, organizing, leadership and controlling of all the events, conferences, sessions, awarding ceremonies, the exhibit spaces, personnel and staffing, transportation, hotel accommodations, and many more.

As a member of the media, I am mostly appreciative for the treatment provided us by the CES management. There were separate Pre-CES events exclusively for us. These included a briefing on the State of the Consumer Electronic Industry and the Global Trends; a first glimpse of the new technologies being exhibited through the CES Unveiling that included a reception with lots of food; and during the entire event, separate Press Rooms serving breakfast and lunch daily at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Convention Center, and the Sands Expo; Press Conferences and Press Resources that included laptops, WiFi access, and interview/meeting rooms, Press Releases and Press Services; and for the International Press, assistance for obtaining US Visas.

The CES management’s handling of the On-Site Logistics most especially impressed me. It helped attendees plan the logistics of their CES experience even before they hit the show floor.

ADA Services

Blind and Deaf Services
A Blind and Deaf Services desk is located in the LVCC, Grand Lobby, Upper Level staircase near Room N250.
Scooters, Wheelchairs and Segways
    Segways are not permitted on the CES show floor unless for ADA use only. Please plan to rent a scooter or wheelchair instead.
    Motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are available.
Business Centers are located at several locations

Attendees are permitted to bring camera equipment onto the show floor. Exhibitors retain the right to restrict photography of their products or displays and such decisions are within the discretion of the exhibitor and are not controlled by CES.

Coat and Bag Check
Coat and bag check is available at several locations as well.

Look for a variety Grab-N-Go kiosks located throughout the show floor., Casino Level.

Your safety at the show is important to us. International CES show management employs strict security measures, while still balancing safety concerns with traffic flow challenges. Attendees should allow themselves extra time to arrive at meetings and events as it may take a little while to pass through the show floor.

Suitcases and Strollers in the LVCC
Coat and bag check is available at the FedEx Office locations in the LVCC. See Coat and bag check section above for details.

Small, two-wheeled bags are permitted. For safety reasons, strollers are not allowed on the show floor. All attendees must be at least 18 years of age.

I will discuss some of the “Little Miracles in the Sin City” in my subsequent columns.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Storage, Emerging Technologies, World Changers, Sales Leaders

I arrived in Las Vegas in the evening of January 3, 2015. The International CES 2015 is actually held on January 6-9, 2015. The reason for my early arrival was because I had to attend another conference, “Storage Visions 2015” at the Riviera Hotel and the Pre-CES media events at the Mandalay Bay. 

In this digital age, we now deal with digital content. The concern is how these contents, be they texts, audio or music, video or movies, or TV shows, are stored either for archiving or temporary storage for easy and fast retrieval.


The “Storage Visions 2015” convention tackled these issues as exhibitors and speakers discuss the latest technologies in storing contents in regular desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices. 

The growing memory capacities that could be installed in the digital devices are indeed amazing. For example, there is now a mini-drive that has a memory capacity of 20 TB (Terabytes) or 20,000 GB.

Jeff Qin, Vice President of Facebook got my full attention when he spoke. I captured some of the numbers in his presentation. According to him, 82% of monthly active users are outside of the U.S. (as of Q3’14).

Daily, there are 930 million photo uploads, 6 billion likes, and 12 billion messages. Serving 1.3 billion users, he explained how Facebook manages its storage and retrieval capabilities. 

Jeff Qin claims that Facebook is only 14% finished. That is because the 1.3 billion users are only 14% of the total world population. 

Pre-CES for Media

The presentation of Dr. Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research for CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) on the State of Consumer Electronic Industry was quite informative.

He discussed the following Emerging Technologies:

Wearables: A device revolution

(1) Smart watches: $3.1 billion in revenue
11 million units sold;
(2) Smart Eyewear: $181 million in revenue
125,000 units sold;
(3) Fitness and activity trackers: $1.8 billion in revenue
20 million units sold;
Note: 85% of consumers agree that using a fitness and activity tracker is motivating them to reach their fitness goals.

World Changers:
1) Drones: $102.8 million in revenue
341,000 units;
2) 3D Printers: $91 million in revenue
Note: 76% of owners use their 3D printers daily/several times a week

Smart Thermostats:
$282 million in revenue
Note: 20% of broadband households plan to buy smart home devices in 2015.

He also showed us the results on sales.

Smartphones: $51.3 billion in revenue
169 million units
Tablets: $24.5 billion in revenue
79.6 million units 
Automotive Electronic: $14 billion in revenue

Bigger is Better
4 K Ultra HD: $4.9 billion in revenue (106% increase)
4 million unit shipments expected 
LCD Flat Panels: $17.4 billion in revenue
 Note: TV larger than 50 inches will account for 11.3 million units in 2015. Up 8.1%


The numbers tell a very powerful story as we examine the independently audited figures of last year’s CES conference.

Attendees: 160,498; Exhibitors: 3,673; 80% of the Top 100 U.S. CE Retailers; 82% of FORTUNE 500; 220 Startups; 1,804 Government Professionals; 6,575 media; 40,828 International visitors; 17,434 Presidents, CEOs and Owners; 2.88 Billion Impressions #2014.

Based on my observation, I have no doubt that International CES 2015 will surpass all previous measurable performances.